Plastic $100 bills tough to fake

It looks different, feels different and offers many more security features.

The new Canadian $100 note was on display in Kelowna for the first time Monday morning.

The polymer-based notes are scheduled to replace the current cotton-based currency in November.

Farid Salji with the Bank of Canada says new $50 notes will be in circulation by March 2012, with $5, $10 and $20 bills hitting the market by the end of 2013.

Salji says the new notes are 'state of the art' and feature leading edge security features designed specifically for the polymer substrate.

"They are going to be very easy to identify and very difficult to counterfeit," says Salji.

Salji says the bills will incorporate very complicated holography with transparency included in the bill itself.

While polymer-based currency has been around for about 20 years and has been incorporated in the currencies of more than 30 countries, Salji says the Bank of Canada has taken the material and added leading edge security features to make sure they are one of the best in the world.

Salji says the new design and the new features will allow the Bank of Canada to stay one step ahead of forgers, at least for now.

"Any time you basically put new features into a note it forces counterfeiters to take a look at what you have incorporated," says Salji.

"We've completely changed the design of these notes to make sure it is very difficult for these counterfeiters to counterfeit."

RCMP Const. Steve Holmes says over the years, counterfeiting has tied up significant police resources.

"There have been issues we have had to deal with from time to time, although recently they have been lessened somewhat," says Holmes.

"That's largely due to advances in technology through the Bank of Canada."

In fact, since the high water mark of 2004 when Salji says $13 million in counterfeit money was circulated in Canada, counterfeiting has fallen more than 90 per cent.

He believes the newly designed notes will make it even tougher for counterfeiters.

In total, there are nine security features on the face of the new bills, seven of which are part of two holograms.

Along with being more secure, Salji says the notes are also more durable.

He says the life span of the new bills will be about two-and-a-half times longer than the old notes, saving the taxpayer about $200 million over the life of the bills.

The new currency will cost about 19 cents each to produce compared with 10 cents each for the old bills.

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